My first solo attempt at Mehndi, henna body art

Do try this at home. Just don't be disappointed when your results don't turn out to be as pretty as you normally find when you research the topic of Mehndi or henna body art.

I've started this year off with a lot of bold intentions, one of which is to explore my creativity in bigger and more exciting ways than ever before.

Giving myself some "henna tattoos" has been something I've wanted to do for as long as I can recall. I have a vague memory of playing with it, along with a couple of friends, in our late teens and early twenties, but certainly not to this degree. Mostly we just talked about how cool it was. Having bought first the wrong kind (for hair rather than skin - apparently a no-no*) then later a kit I then didn't make the time to use, yesterday while continuing my massive organizational project, I came across a book I have on the subject. Sumita Batra's The Art of Mehndi is a beautiful book that not only features the resurgence of these gorgeous body tattoos' popularity, but also shares some history and cultural insights, not to mention offering patterns and tips on how to make your own.

Since I already had my little kit, I opted to just use what I had on hand for my first go:

  • First challenge: my paste was too thin. Which means it ran way more than the sweet work I found on some YouTube videos, obviously done by professionals.
  • Second challenge: the tip of my applicator was bigger than I would have preferred. And so the lines weren't nearly as thin and delicate as would have pleased me most.

I did it anyway.

And I'm thrilled. So much so that, in spite of the clear evidence that my results look a bit like child's play and could almost be a bit embarrassing when compared to the stunning work you can find online, I'm showing you anyway. Know what? I'm making more and more decisions for myself this year that will enable me to just own my bold choices and be okay with the humble results.

Remember Malcolm Gladwell's premise about how it takes 10,000 hours to succeed in any field? Well, my my calculations, I have a lot of hours of practice ahead of me. All such practice should be this much fun.

So what will I do differently in future?

  • Next time I'll do more research and find some better quality tools. I may try a pre-mixed paste but I'll definitely check into smaller tips for applying the paste.
  • I may try it with some friends!
  • It wouldn't hurt, either, to practice a ton of really nice designs, in advance. (Instant-gratification was driving the train yesterday, though; I didn't end up doing a single stroke I'd practiced, when it came to my skin.) First with a pencil, maybe, but in time with some kind of inexpensive mixture (I'll figure out what later,) that can be applied in the same way. Because "drawing" with henna paste in a tube is most definitely not the same thing as drawing with a pencil or pen.

And what will I do the same?

I will have every bit as much fun as I did. There is henna art on my hand, there's henna art on my legs, on my belly, on my chest. I tried silly designs, and experimental wonky things. I wiped things off and started over. I made some messes and I found some cool possibilities, too. And every little thing about it was a hoot.

What about you?

Have you ever played with this stuff? What were your experiences? Did you like it? Will you do it again? Any tips for the rest of us? Share in the comment section below!

*Anybody want my henna for hair? Free to first person to let me know they want it!